In Denmark there is a street in central Copenhagen where you find a lot of galleries. None of them, or any other gallery in the world, are owned by mr. Vital Lacerda. Nonetheless he has designed a board game where you run a gallery, and compete to make it the best gallery in town.
A theme like that? I had to own it. Did not know if the game was good or not, but I just had to. The game is The Gallerist.
In the game you have to buy up pieces of art, support the artists, promote them, deal on the international art market and make sure your assistants are best utilized in supporting your gallery. Also you have to decide the audience/buyers you wish to attract to your gallery by clever use of tickets, or even “steal” the buyers from your competitors.
The game is a heavy euro game where you have one action. That action is performed by yourself represented by a very nice looking meeple (is it even a meeple?), and you chose which action you have to do. You can “only” make four choices, but in each choice you have a secondary choice to make. E.g. when choosing the artist space you can either support an artist or buy a piece of art.
When you leave one space to take an action you can, if you have any, leave an assistant that will give you another action if someone else enters that space, and that makes the game even more deep; they become a passive worker waiting to be activated by someone else. Also it is possible to spend your reputation to get funding or promoting an artist. The design for that is quite brilliant.
Even though you only get to do one action in your turn the game is incredible deep. You really have to think and plan ahead. I know it sounds wrong, but that is normally not a game for me; I do like to think and plan – sometimes. There are no dice, and the chaos element is very low.
But oh, do I love this game!
Brian Rygaard (me)
You have to spend money to earn money, and in the end the one with most of those € win the game. So you always have to consider the worth of the money you spend. Will they bring back the return on investment you had planned.
Have tried the game with two players and four players and it works both ways. I have been entertained greatly each and every time this one hit the table.
A short note on Vital Lacerda. I love his games. He is a master designer, and for me the best designer at the moment. Have played Vinhos where I had to run a vineyard in Portugal (his home of origin), Kanban where I had to plan the production of cars and The Gallerist.
Will I be playing this game again: YES – most definitely
Will I recommend it to others: Yes – but if you are an inexperienced player this is not the place to start. The rules are very understandable though.
Component quality: Awesome…